Blog posts that are inspirational are not uncommon on our site. However, every now and again we have a Tripper that is above and beyond amazing.
Maria is one of those Trippers. On her most recent birthday she turned 104. Below we re-visit our post about the encounter between our oldest Tripper and two Trippers born more than 80 years after she was!
We post this, our first re-visited post ever, in honor of Maria – as a thank you for being part of our community, and to celebrate her life and the life-changing bonds that can be formed between generations.
When Maria was born, San Francisco was still recovering from the 1906 Earthquake. Few families had telephones, the first radio broadcast had just happened and tv wouldn’t be invented for another 20 years. Cars were new too – the streets were still filled with horse-drawn carriages – and there were no planes in the sky. It was a totally different world.
“People didn’t travel much back then,” Maria told us. “My family would spend time at a summer resort, but we never even considered traipsing through Europe like backpackers do today. When we traveled to Italy, we took a steamship there and got around in a Fiat… and we even had to pay one of our Italian cousins to drive, since none of us knew how!”pagebreak
Tripping with Maria
Two Trippers, Apo from Switzerland and Jose from Mexico, recently visited Maria in the hopes of learning what San Francisco was like 100 years ago. They spent the afternoon together, talking and sharing stories.
È un Piccolo Mondo / It’s a Small World
It turned out that Apo and Maria’s family were from the same part of Switzerland! They chatted in Italian and Maria told them about the adventures she had while traveling across Italy in the 30s. Apo later told us that Maria speaks an old dialect that hasn’t been heard in Lugano for generations.
A Friend to Everyone
This is our favorite part of the video:
When Maria was 7 years old, her father explained that her school would soon be filled with children of different races and cultural backgrounds. Like most schools at the time, her school had only white children and so Maria didn’t believe him. But her father could see where society was heading and insisted:
“You go to school now and all the children look like you. But someday – maybe tomorrow maybe in 10 years – you will see a black child come to your school. And when those children come…I want you to be a friend to everyone.”
It was a lesson that has stayed with Maria throughout her life. “We may come from different cultures and countries,” she told us, “but deep down we’re all the same.”
We couldn’t agree more. And if you’re headed to San Francisco, stop by and visit Maria. You’ll have a memorable visit and we’re sure she’d love to meet you too.
Original post by Grahame. Update by Anis Salvesen.